Sail Date: September 01, 2009 Ship: Carnival Paradise Cabin Type: Inside Traveled As: Couple Reviewed: 8 years ago
If you've never been on a cruise before this may not be the best one to start with. Catalina is nice, clean, good tourist shopping and a few things to do, but after about 2 hours, you don't really know what else to do. Ensenada is a great place if you want to party your brains out. After about 3 hours, we were back on board. I'm from SoCal so most of the shore activities are available to me right here in LA. So that may have biased me.
I think if you are going to go on your first cruise you want to go to more interesting places. The Mexican Riviera, maybe Acapulco, Mazatlan, Cabo would be far more fun and would have tons of activities. This is a nice cruise if you just want to disconnect and relax for a couple days. Don't go expecting much more unless you want to eat and drink until you throw up.
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
I was expecting better food than what we got. The buffet is definitely better than a Sizzler and the food in the evening at the sit down dinners is better than the buffet but nothing was impressive. I found it important to ask your head waiter what is good on the menu and not to order what you wanted. That was really a great way to go, much safer bet. And . . know this. ORDER AS MUCH AS YOU WANT AT THE SIT DOWN DINNERS. ORDER 3 ENTREES ORDER 4. It was so funny listening to people complain about portion size. Order as many things as you want, even if you just want to taste it. The wait staff doesn't care and wants you to have a good time!
1 out of 5
Other than the comedians they bring out from Vegas I really wasn't interested in anything else. Like I said, I'm fro SoCal and have access to great entertainment year round so I'm biased. If you are from somewhere a little more remote or have kids and never get out, the activities might be more appealing to you. But for me, unless I wanted to drink or gamble I just hung out on the upper decks in a quiet area and mixed cocktails.
5 out of 5
I don't have kids, but I feel the need to say that the Carnival Paradise did an excellent job of just making the kids disappear. I never noticed children anywhere. Don't get me wrong, I love children but I don't want to feel like I'm on vacation at a daycare center. I hardly ever saw children. I must say they deserve an Excellent for this.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
This made the trip. Make friends with the people who are going to take care of you and they do. Our room steward Colas and head waiter Raghu were more than friendly and satisfied every request I made. I loved the shrimp that came with our lobster and asked if I could just get a plate of the shrimp. Raghu said probably not, but guess what, I got it. I also brought a bottle of wine for each of the four nights. I gave them all to Raghu who brought out a bottle every night for me along with a plate of cheese to taste. I can't say enough about the friendly staff on board. They really try hard to make sure you enjoy yourself.
3 out of 5
The ship is clean and decorated just fine. They do have plastic chairs and tables outside which is not that appealing, but when you pay dirt cheap prices for a cruise, I was fine with it. It takes about a day to get to know where everything is, but it was not a problem, you really can't expect to memorize the ship layout in just a couple of days.
Cabin / Stateroom
3 out of 5
We stayed in the least expensive room. Interior state room. I was ready to sleep in a closet, but I must tell you, it was just fine, bigger than I expected. I'm 6'6" and the king size bed fit me just fine. The sheets were comfy and there was plenty of closet space. My girlfriend and I packed a lot too. We needed more hangars and our room steward brought as many as we needed. The bathroom was also just great. The shower was large enough for me and my girlfriend to use at the same time. I had no issues with the rooms.
Pros: Friendliness of staff, variety of food, always being able to find a quiet place to relax
Cons: Ports not interesting, constant upselling for shops, excursions, gambling etc., alcohol is expensive, activities on board not appealing to young adults
*Cruiseline.com is not a booking agent or travel agency, and does not charge any service fees to users of our site. Our partners (travel agencies and cruise lines) provide prices, which we list for our users' convenience. Cruiseline.com does not guarantee any specific rates or prices. While prices are updated daily, please check with the booking site for the exact amount. Cruiseline.com is not responsible for content on external web sites.
Every Wednesday you'll receive the latest articles, deals, and news from the Cruiseline.com team, plus tips and photos submitted by our vibrant community of diehard cruisers. You'll also get a free gift — a downloadable, printable PDF of our guide to cruising!
Sign up for weekly cruise deals.
Join other subscribers and get the best cruise deals of the week in your inbox every Thursday.